Women Leave Corporate America Eyeing Entrepreneurship

March 27, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Still feeling treated like second-class corporate citizens, women are increasingly leaving big companies to start their own businesses.

Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men, in both the brick-and-mortar and online marketplace. In fact, as of 2002, there were 6.2 million women-owned businesses employing 9.2 million workers and generating $1.15 trillion in annual revenue, concludes the Conference Board’s article, “Escape from Corporate America.”

Citing reasons for their departure from corporate America, 51% of the women surveyed cited the desire for more flexibility as the major reason for leaving corporate positions.   Additionally, 29% of women business owners with prior private-sector experience cited glass-ceiling issues. Of those women, 44% felt their contributions were not recognized or valued and one-third of all the women surveyed said their employer or supervisor did not take them seriously.

Probing for possible lures back to the corporate world, the majority (58%) said nothing would attract them back to the corporate world, 24% could be lured back by more money, and 11% by greater flexibility.

Retaining Female Talent

The female exodus for entrepreneurship will become even more pronounced as the younger generation enters the workforce and starts ascending the corporate ladder.   To remedy this situation, companies need to focus on providing flexibility, as well as continuing challenges and opportunities for personal growth.

In addition to increasing flexibility and opportunities, the report suggests:

  • identifying potential women managers early in their careers
  • rewarding women’s bottom-line contributions
  • recruiting female entrepreneurs to corporate boards and senior line positions.